It has almost become a customary ritual, a couple of my childhood friends from Assam, gathering at my place for lunch around Sankranti. To wallow in sweet nostalgia, remembering the blessed days of yore and the fun and revelry of Bihu.
The theme of the lunch menu too over the years has remained consistent, simple and earthy, a celebration of winter vegetables, followed by a feast of pithe-puli.
This year too was no exception. And it wasn’t really onerous planning out the menu.
A Komola Moong Dal. Moong Dal cooked with luscious orange segments in orange juice, perfumed with ginger and spiked with green chillies.
Sheem Bhorta, a to-die-for Sylheti delicacy of mashed flat beans.
Chaler Dalna. A delicious curry of fragrant new rice and a medley of gorgeous winter vegetables.
Bandhakopir Paturi. Finely shredded cabbage smothered in a mustard-posto paste, drizzled with mustard oil and pan-roasted in banana leaf parcels.
Maa’s Koi Phulkopi. A song of the earth and the river. Minimal spices. No fuss.
And a Pabnar Hansher Kalia. Tender duck. Stewed in coconut milk. Perfumed with whole spices. Finished with an overload of fried onions.
I wore a smile of contentment, happy with myself with the way the menu had shaped up.
The day finally arrives.
Friends drop in one by one.
Unending adda. Unbridled laughter. Endless cups of filter coffee.
D remains conspicuous by her absence.
Finally the doorbell rings.
An extremely apologetic D walks in.
Lunch now, we are famished, the girls shout in unison.
Lunch is laid out.
My mother in law made this for lunch at home this morning, D announces, she packed some for you folks.
She takes out a humble stainless steel tiffin box and proceeds to unclasp the same.
How thoughtful and sweet of your mother-in-law, someone comments. And wow, that looks gorgeous !!
My mother-in-law’s peyajkoli posto that we all adore at home. Try it, it’s divine.
Peyajkoli Posto? I mull. Haven’t savoured that ever. Despite my obsession (or so S firmly believes) with onion greens.
And I tuck in.
The mellow sweetness of pejaykoli and onions, earthy appeal of posto, piquant zing of mustard oil and fiendish heat of green chillies explode on my palate.
I am speechless.
How simple, yet so wickedly delicious !!!!
The adda continues till late evening.
I need that recipe D, I request as she proceeds to leave.
Later that evening, she sends me Aunty’s scribbles of the recipe of Peyajkoli Posto.
Its going to be up on my blog very soon, I promise.
If you adore your onion greens as much as I do, do try my Rui Peyajkoli and Mete Peyajkoli.
And just in case, you are in a mood for something decadent, my Peyajkoli Komola Murgi is a must try.
Peyajkoli Posto (Onion Greens with Poppy Seeds Paste)
- 2 bundles of peyajkoli or onion greens
- 3 tbsp posto or poppy seeds
- 3 onions finely sliced
- 6 green chillies slit
- 1 tsp turmeric powder
- 4 tbsp mustard oil
- salt to taste
- Soak the poppy seeds soaked in warm water for about 20 minutes, then removed from water and blended to a paste with 2 tbsp of water and 3-4 green chilies.
- Cut the onion stalks to 11/2 inch long pieces. Keep aside.
- Heat 3 tbsp oil in a Kadhai, throw in the panchforan, allow to splutter.
- Add the chopped onions and rest of the green chillies, fry till the onions are soft and translucent.
- Now add the onion stalks, sprinkle in the salt and turmeric powder. Cook over a medium flame till the onion stalks are tender.
- At this stage, stir in the posto paste, give it a hearty mix, continue cooking for 4-5 more minutes over a moderate flame. Feel free to splash a little water if it is getting a bit too dry.
- Finish with a generous drizzle of mustard oil. Serve hot with steamed rice.